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Mercedes Sets January U.S. Sales Record Adding Entry-Lux Buyers

Mercedes Sets January U.S. Sales Record Adding Entry-Lux Buyers
A Mercedes-Benz S-Class automobile on the production line at the Daimler AG Mercedes-Benz factory in Sindelfingen, Germany, on Jan. 24, 2014. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Mercedes-Benz, the top-selling luxury-auto brand in the U.S. in 2013, started out this year in the lead with record January sales as carmakers broaden their lineups to bring in younger buyers.

The Daimler AG unit sold 22,604 vehicles last month, 103 more than a year earlier, led by the new entry-level CLA car, according to a statement yesterday. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s BMW, surpassed by Mercedes in 2013, reported an 11 percent gain to 18,253.

Mercedes and BMW are among luxury-auto makers expanding with lower-cost models. Sales of entry-level cars and SUVs represent 67 percent of the U.S. luxury market and probably will keep growing this year, Bloomberg Industries forecasts. Mercedes will benefit from a full year of its CLA, which starts at $29,900, a refreshed C-Class and a new GLA small sport-utility vehicle, while BMW is introducing a $33,025 2-Series coupe.

“That’s where the growth is going to come from,” Kevin Tynan, a Bloomberg Industries analyst in Skillman, New Jersey, said in an interview. “As they get more significant penetration to the entry car and SUV market, volumes will go up.”

January sales for Mercedes also benefited from a 37 percent surge for its S-Class. BMW, based in Munich, was led by a combined 34 percent jump for its 3 Series and 4 Series and a 26 percent increase for the 5 Series.

The figures don’t include Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler’s cargo vans and Smart cars and BMW’s Mini brand, which aren’t luxury vehicles.

2013 Reversal

Mercedes last year outsold BMW by 3,254 vehicles, ending its two-year reign as the best-selling U.S. luxury-auto brand.

That result was for reported sales. By vehicle registrations, BMW through September last year was ahead with 216,724 to 206,952 for Mercedes, according to researcher R.L. Polk & Co.

Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus luxury brand posted an 8.8 percent increase to 17,637 in January. Lexus was helped by the entry-level IS, which more than doubled sales, and the RX SUV, which rose 3.9 percent, the Toyota City, Japan-based company said in a statement.

General Motors Co.’s Cadillac reported a 13 percent sales decline to 11,386, as deliveries fell for every model except the SRX crossover, which rose 1.5 percent, Detroit-based GM said in a statement.

Audi’s U.S. sales rose 0.4 percent to 10,101 last month, according to a statement. The unit of Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen AG has posted record sales for 37 months in a row. Its January results included a 43 percent gain for the Q7 SUV.

Acura’s SUVs

Honda Motor Co.’s Acura sales rose 14 percent to 10,823 last month, according to a statement from the Tokyo-based company, as deliveries of the MDX SUV jumped 65 percent to 4,241 and those of the RDX rose 9.7 percent to 2,730.

“Even the frigid January weather couldn’t stop the all-wheel-drive MDX and RDX from posting another record sales month,” Jeff Conrad, vice president and general manager of Acura sales, said in the statement.

Nissan Motor Co.’s Infiniti sales gained 26 percent to 8,998 in January, according to a statement from the Yokohama, Japan-based automaker, led by a 21 percent gain for the QX60 SUV and 2,949 sales of its Q50 sedan, which is still in its first year on the market.

Monthly sales of Ford Motor Co.’s Lincoln brand soared 43 percent to 5,973, the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker said in a statement. The redesigned MKZ sedan led the gains, with a fourfold increase to 2,122, and the MKX SUV posted a 36 percent jump to 2,479.

Porsche, the Stuttgart-based automaker that’s now part of Volkswagen, said deliveries declined 7.8 percent to 3,096, as sales were hurt by cold weather and low availability of its top-selling Cayenne SUV.

Land Rover’s monthly sales climbed 11 percent to 4,674, while Jaguar’s rose 31 percent to 1,347, according to a statement. The two brands are owned by Mumbai-based Tata Motors Ltd.

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